Climbing the Ladder- The Journey

The Climbing the Ladder blog journey has helped me reflect on where I have been and where I am heading. While I hold these memories and experiences within me, it was very special for me to highlight and share them with you as well. With each blog, I have been able to learn more from each experience and truly reflect on the steps up the ladder that have been a part of my career journey.

Today, as I write this, I can see how each step up the ladder has assisted me in where I am today. I have learned so much on each step, each ladder rung has not only helped me grow in my career but has a person. I started from the bottom, as a courtesy clerk at a grocery store, and now I am the practice administrator of a group of 20 physicians for a major hospital system in my community. While this is not my last step and I am actively pursuing new opportunities with increased responsibility, I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support of those around me. I have always strived for the top and I will continue to do so but, in the process, I need to reflect on where I have been, where I am, and where I am headed. This journey has been long, challenging, filled with ups and downs but it has all been a learning lesson.

This blog highlights the jobs I have held throughout my career. It does not highlight the educational steps that I have also strived for over the years. I earned my bachelor’s degree in 2010 and my first master’s degree in 2014. On August 13th, I will earn my MBA from the University of Nevada, Reno. The two years of this program have not been easy, but I couldn’t be prouder of the accomplishment of earning my MBA from UNR and I am so proud of my fellow classmates on their success. I truly feel that by earning this degree, I have proven to myself that I am capable to keep climbing the ladder in this journey of life. With hard work and dedication so much is possible. Thank you for reading my Climbing the Ladder blog and thank you for sharing this journey with me.

Climbing the Ladder- Baby Steps

I started applying to new positions this week. My boss told me on Wednesday that they are going to post my position. She reassured me that she is not pushing me out but that the company needs to find someone to replace me.  She stated that she wanted to allow enough time for me to train the new person before my departure. I couldn’t help but feel a tinge of anxiety and worry. What if I don’t find a job in Florida? What if I have to take a step down the ladder? What if I fail?

I applied to seven jobs on Wednesday and four jobs on Thursday. Thursday afternoon I started getting discouraged because I hadn’t heard back from anyone. I was close to throwing a party, a pity party. But then, I checked my email again for the 30th time and there it was! An email from a company that I was excited about, wanting to interview me. They said in their email that I have the education and experience that they are looking for. (Insert a huge smile and confidence boost).

Today, Friday, two more companies reached out to me requesting an interview. These are all positions that I would be very excited to work in. I know I would learn and grow so much in each of these roles. Receiving the interview requests increased my confidence that I am a good candidate and companies are interested in hiring someone with my skillset and education.

This also made me realize that I am probably a bit burnt out in my current role. I felt excited again, like a little spark of joy was ignited in me. I will continue applying for new roles, interviewing, and continuously trying to hike up that ladder to the next rung. What step will present itself? Time will tell but I do feel excited and hopeful for this next journey. Wish me luck!  

Climbing the Ladder- The Aftermath

This week felt like a trek. It was more challenging than others because I had to fight more internally to be present at work. I felt the disappointment from the news of the week prior. I am accepting of the decision that was made but it reminded me that I am only a number, easily replaceable.

This is a big learning lesson for me. Over the past 5.5 years, I have worked long hours and made work a primary focus. Work has been a big distraction for me from other areas of my life.

I am getting older and my priorities are changing. I am more focused on creating a happy life outside of work. My goal is to change my mindset from living to work to working to live.

As I start my job search journey, I am mindful that I am looking for a company that offers a healthy work-life balance, flexibility, recognition, growth and development. I updated my resume this week. This was draft 3 of my resume, so far. In three more weeks and I can update my resume again to reflect Alexa Parker, MBA. That will feel like a huge accomplishment and should help me in securing more interviews.

On a personal note, this experience has taught me to create better boundaries with work. Do not check email over the weekend, allow time to breath, and recharge. Monday is a great day to tackle all the issues that occurred over the weekend.

Climbing the Ladder- The Answer is No

Friday afternoon I met my boss at Starbucks. I had an idea of what the decision was going to be but I remained hopeful. When she arrived, she bought me a Starbucks and we sat at a table. She told me the answer was no.

I was disappointed by the decision and a lot of thoughts ran through my head. My boss, even with the delivery of bad news, was still very supportive. She walked me through her career and work experiences throughout the years. I appreciated the sharing of her ladder climbing journey with me. I am always curious of others’ journey up the ladder. Especially those who’s leadership styles I admire.

I asked my boss what the next steps were. She said I can maintain my role until I find a new job and then give a 30-day notice. One of the reasons that I wanted to work remote was because of a sign on bonus that I received when I was hired. I have to work for the company for 2 years or I repay the sign on bonus. (Golden handcuffs).

After the meeting and learning the company’s decision, I called my fiancé and we reviewed our options. We decided that we have two primary options. One option is to work in my current role until January 2023, look for a new job, and don’t repay the sign on bonus. The other option is to maintain my current role, search for a new job, and when I find something great, I can provide notice.

Even though I am disappointed by the decision, I learned a lot from this situation. It is time to update my resume and start putting myself out there. This is an exciting new step on my ladder journey and in my life. The ending of one chapter and the beginning of a new chapter.  

Climbing the Ladder- Asking to Work Remote

Each Wednesday I have a one-on-one meeting scheduled with my boss. This past Wednesday I had planned that I would speak with my boss regarding the possibility of allowing me to work remote. Prior to my meeting, I made a long list of all of the tasks that I could complete remotely. I made a list of the tasks that would be more challenging to complete but I had solutions to the limitations outlined next to each item. I added three tasks that had been pain points for the company that I could take on and streamline. I was nervous and hopeful that the company could see this as a short-term solution.

I made my pitch. I could tell that my boss was surprised by the request but she was understanding of my new life situation and my need to relocate. We reviewed the list together. She made some notes and told me that in a post- pandemic era we should all have the ability to work remote. However, she needed to get the approval for this from her boss. We both were not sure what the higher up would say. Although, I think we both had an idea about what the final decision would be.

After the meeting, I felt relieved that I had gotten it out there and had the conversation. I was hopeful that it would work out. If it worked out, it would be a win, win for both sides. I didn’t want to think about what would happen if the decision was no. My boss said that she would let me know the final decision by early next week.

And then, my boss called me on Friday and asked me to meet her at Starbucks…

Climbing the Ladder- Step 14, Searching for a New Opportunity

Relocating has always been a bit nerve racking for me. This will be the 3rd big move in my life. My first relocation occurred in 2010 when I moved from Las Vegas, NV to San Diego, CA after I graduated from my undergraduate program. My second relocation was in 2015 when I relocated to Reno, NV from San Diego, CA and now my third relocation will be in 2022 when I move from Reno, NV to Florida.

I have always been someone that avoids change as much as possible. While I do not enjoy change, I am able to adjust well to new situations. I am not worried about relocating to Florida but I am worried about finding a new job. I have been in my field for 5 years and have had upward movement over the last few years. As I near the end of the MBA program, I am about to begin my job search.

I am eager for growth and I would like to pursue director level jobs. That is the next ladder rung to climb, becoming a director. Ideally, I would find a position as a director of operations in the healthcare industry or a program director in the same field.

I have been looking at job descriptions for the senior level positions I aim to hold one day for years. I focus heavily on the requirements for these jobs to see what qualifications are needed for the job. This helps me understand what I still need to learn, what I can focus on in my current role to expand my experience, and what skills I need to obtain to become more qualified. This is one of the biggest reasons I decided to pursue my MBA. Many of the roles I have been looking at require an MBA. I am now one month away from meeting that qualification. I am getting closer and closer to being more qualified for my dream job.

As I start the search for a new job, I am focusing on roles that help me climb up the ladder as opposed to making a lateral move. I feel that at this point in my career, the job title is just as important as the salary and benefits.

It has been so long since I have had to actively participate in a job search. I have updated my resume, written a draft cover letter, and I have been submitting applications to companies. I have had a couple interviews but I have not moved past the initial phone screening yet. I thought that finding a new job would have been a bit easier than what my experience has been. I think that I need to update my resume again and really hone in on fine tuning my cover letter.

As I begin the job search more heavily, I hope that this is a numbers game and that it is only a matter of time before I find my new job in Florida.

Have you relocated to a new city recently? If so, what was your experiencing with securing a new job?

Climbing the Ladder- Pursuing Step 14

My boyfriend proposed to me on the 4th of July. I said yes. It was such a special moment for us. I am very excited for our future and our next steps together.

We have had a long-distance relationship since March of this year. He had to relocate to Florida and I am still living in Reno, NV. As much as I like my current job, the people I work with, and the field of healthcare that I am in- it is time to put my personal life first and begin the process of pursuing step 14, relocating to Florida.

In a perfect world, I would like to work remotely for the company I am with now and travel into Reno once a month or as needed. I am going to speak with my boss about this suggestion this coming week. I have worked so hard for my program and I would really like to have the chance to finish my work, to complete all outstanding tasks and allow for a smooth handoff to the person that would take over for me.

In some ways, I might be holding on a little too tightly to my current job. Even with the transition occurring in my personal life, I want to ensure the success of the program and I do not want to leave the program or company in a bad situation. When I meet with my boss, I will be prepared with a list of everything I can do working remotely as well as the limitations of what will be more challenging to complete from across the country.

I feel confident that I can do the majority of my work remotely, but this position has historically always been an in-person role. Remote work is more acceptable since Covid, but I am still nervous to have this conversation with my boss. I want to think that we both need each other and they would be open to the idea until the program is running more smoothing and they can recruit a new person to take over.  

If I am not able to work remotely, I will need to begin to pursue step 14- finding a new job in Florida.

Have you ever had to ask to work remotely? If so, what was your experience with this?

Climbing the Ladder- Step 13

Step 13 led me to the ladder rung I am currently on. I am the practice administrator for the Hospitalist program. I oversee the operations and the day to day for two Hospitalist programs. I have expanded our original team of 8 providers to a team of 23 providers over the past 18 months.

Each role, each step up the ladder, brings new challenges, new experiences, and new opportunity. I continue to learn so much each day and I know, more now than ever, how much I enjoy working with physicians and providers. I am very focused on building a great team that provides the best care to our patients. We pride ourselves as being the best Hospitalist team in town.

Since Covid, medicine has changed. The patient volumes used to historically slowdown in the summer and increase in the winter but that has changed. Every day is busy, every season is busy, and most days it feels like we can’t catch our breath. No matter how many challenges we face, we still come to work, work hard, have a good time, and are happy to be there, figuring it all out together. Teamwork is the most important aspect to a successful team and culture. No one can do it alone and I admire my team so much for their ability and willingness to always step up to the plate when it is needed.

As I continue to learn and grow, I do think of what the next step up the ladder will bring and as I near the end of the MBA program, I have been looking at new potential opportunities. Earning my MBA will bring me closer to step 14. With the program nearing completion, I reflect back on the past two years. They were not easy but I wouldn’t change it for anything.

What will the next steps up the ladder bring?

Climbing the Ladder- Step 12

Step 12 was a big step up the ladder. I began working as the Regional Manager of the Hospitalist and Emergency Medicine program. I was the operations dyad to two medical directors and was responsible for over 40 physicians. I oversaw three programs locally and one program in Long Beach, CA.

In this role, I experienced a lot of business-related travel. I had never traveled for a job before. As a terrified flyer, this was a challenge. I had to travel one to two times a month for work.

As a team, we made a lot of progress for the programs. We opened a free-standing emergency department, we exceeded our metrics on the Hospitalist and ER side, we recruited many new providers to our teams, and established great relationships with department leaders and ancillary services. This was a high stress job but, in time, we found our footing.

Everything changed in April of 2020. COVID.  We faced so many challenges and unknowns. It was scary for all of us, especially for the front-line providers and healthcare workers.

To make matters worse, when COVID first hit our communities, patients avoided the hospital. Which meant that during this unprecedented time, we had to cut provider shifts. I hate to admit it but medicine is a business. Without patients coming to the hospital, we had to adjust and pivot constantly.

This job was hard and while it was exciting and it offered a lot of growth for me, I couldn’t have survived it without my team. My medical directors, and my clinical performance nurse are three people that greatly impacted my life for the better. We joke that we are bonded for life because of our experience of working for Sound Physicians.

We found a new normal through it all. We gained our footing again and then everything changed. Sound Physicians lost the contract with the hospital. We were going to experience another program transition. We had worked so hard, made so much progress, and had built such a wonderful team. No matter how great we were, it came down to dollars, and the c-suite of the hospital made the decision to pursue other organizations for the management of their Hospitalist and ER programs.

This next transition led me to step 13- Practice Administrator.

Climbing the Ladder- Step 11

Step 11 brought me to the career path that I am currently on. After Dr. Torch’s practice closed, I applied to the position of operations coordinator for a Hospitalist and Emergency Medicine program. I remember walking in for the interview and thinking “I want to work here”. I was so impressed by the Executive Director. To this day, she is still my career role model.

I have always paid close attention to my female leaders. I am very curious to learn about their career paths and what their experiences were as they climbed the ladder to the top. Over the years, I have had several female bosses and interactions with female leaders. I am eager to learn from them. I gain something from each interaction with them, either good or bad. I can learn just as much from a “bad” boss as I can from a “good” boss. From the “bad” bosses, I learn how I don’t want to be and from the “good” bosses I learn how I want to be as a leader.

In this role, I gained the fundamental knowledge of working in acute care medicine. I also, unfortunately, learned the budgetary constraints of operating a Hospitalist program. The group that I worked for at the time made the decision to give up the contract with the hospital. This meant that the group I was working for would no longer be managing the Emergency Medicine program or the Hospitalist program. This decision led me to step 12, Sound Physicians.